Motion graphics is animated graphic design. At its most basic (and historically), this might include title sequences, lower third graphics for interviews and informational graphics. Over time this has evolved and now includes infographics and 3D animation, but there is a marked and significant divergence between the skills of the artists working in the two fields.
Use this guide to get more of an understanding of how you can incorporate motion graphics successfully for your projects.
What does motion graphics include?
Motion graphics can include things like explainer videos, UI animations, animated logos, kinetic typography, self-contained animations (animated shorts for example), film or TV titles and infographics to name but a few.
The ability to arrange compositions regarding the relationship between typographic elements, images, illustrations and/ or video are also inherent aspects of motion graphics - though not exclusive to it, as CG/VFX artists also have to pay enormous attention to composition. But motion graphics owes more to traditional graphic design layout skills.
What type of jobs does motion graphics work well for?
Motion graphics lends itself well to anything that requires an explanatory treatment or conveys information efficiently and succinctly. Medical 'modes of action' are an obvious example, wherein a medication is shown to work in a certain part of the body, or in a specific way. But applications are numerous and sit across a very wide gamut. That's the practical side.
However, abstract or more artistic approaches are often required which serve no informational purpose whatsoever, but rather beautify and support live action, or exist as self-contained animations.
What elements make for successful motion graphics work?
Design fundamentals should always come first. A good grounding in, and understanding of, composition is crucial, as is being well versed in typographic layout rules but for some reason that in particular seems to have fallen by the wayside in the last 10 - 20 years.
How has motion graphics evolved over the last decade?
Mainly an expectation from clients of much higher levels of sophistication, complexity and realism. 20 years ago there was only so much detail you could create in your design.
What does a typical timeline look like?
It really varies depending on the complexity of the work, but what I would say is that it’s sometimes difficult for people to grasp that as a designer you need time to play, experiment and think. Sitting there staring into space while tapping a pencil against your chin might look like procrastination but it's vitally important to the process. So do allow plenty of time and get the ball rolling early.